Cleaning for Pesach

Since we have entered the period of thirty days preceding Pesach when it is incumbent to commence studying its Halachos, I want to mention a number of ideas relevant the season.

 

The first issue to arise is cleaning for Pesach. Much ink has been spilled regarding the importance of following traditions, as well as avoiding obsessive/compulsive behavior. Rather than offer a list of suggestions or specific guidelines, I would like to give you an understanding of the underlying issues so you will have the necessary tools to deduce practical applications for yourself. Of course, it is always advised to ask specific questions to your Rav.

 

There are two primary reasons for cleaning the house, and each location and item must be classified based on which motive applies to it. The Torah enjoins that one may not possess Chometz on Pesach, and doing so it forbidden as Bal Yira’eh Bal Yimatzeh. Furthermore, there is the much more serious Issur of eating leavened products.

Many Poskim hold that the first transgression relating to ownership is only relevant to a full sized kezayis quantity, and certainly is not applicable to crumbs or less, as they are automatically Batel. Consequently, when cleaning most rooms of the house, a cursory examination for significant pastries and superficial cleaning is sufficient. Consequently, this should not by the primary focus of one’s efforts.

The second prohibition of consumption is much more severe and applies even to a miniscule amount. This primarily is relevant to kitchen surfaces, which must be thoroughly cleaned. However, since these crumbs that we are concerned may be eaten inadvertently are only problematic when they are edible, applying a caustic cleansing agent is satisfactory, even if not every fragment is physically removed. Therefore, critical importance is attached to properly dealing with the refrigerator, countertops, backsplash, sinks etc. Some of them may require a thorough scrubbing while others may need to additionally be Kashered or covered.

This is not to minimize the enjoyment of sitting down to Yom Tov in a house that has undergone a comprehensive spring cleaning, it is merely intended to put things in their proper perspective.

2 thoughts on “Cleaning for Pesach

  1. You may wish to make note of the fact that one need not move heavy, difficult to move items in order to inspect and clean. Many people feel they need to get 2-3 people to help them move a heavy stove, refrigerator, bookcase or other objects for inspection and cleaning. I’ve even heard of people pulling up their carpets.

    A helpful oft used phrase, ” dirt is not chometz.”

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